Monday, December 15, 2014

wintry vegetafull-bacon soup

Warming, full of herbs, and riddled with bacon. What more could you ask for on a snowy day after a bout of shoveling?

These are not specific amounts--just enjoy playing in the kitchen! 

You'll need:
  • cooking sake
  • bouillon or stock
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • sage
  • bacon
  • turnips
  • red peppers (the sweet ones, like bell peppers)
  • potatoes
  • kabocha (or regular pumpkin would work too)
  • celery stalks + leaves
  • leeks
  • carrots
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil 
  • garlic cloves 
  • milk (I use soy because I don't have access to almond, but you can use dairy of course)
Do this:

Chop the veggies and bacon as small as you have time for--the smaller they are, the quicker they cook. Add them to a stock pot and sprinkle with olive oil. Saute a few minutes if you have time, or if you don't, go ahead and cover them with stock (or water + sake + bouillon powder or cubes) and add the rest of the ingredients. I would only put in enough liquid to just cover everything because you want this thick and creamy.

Bring to a boil and cook till everything is tender. I use an immersion blender to blend it all right in the pot, but you can use a regular blender if you have it.

Lastly, add some milk to taste.

Rx: Keep a jar of this handy and enjoy whenever you need an elixir of heat in your system.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

honey, they're yuzu carrots!

Mmm, mmm, zingy carrots! This is not a specific recipe, but it's officially now one of our favorites. A friend gave me some organic yuzu (a kind of Asian citrus) that her friend grew, and I needed to use them up quickly. I just boiled boiled some carrots in plain unsalted water, drained them, and then tossed in a bit of butter, honey, and freshly squeezed yuzu juice.

I served them with curry chicken in coconut sauce, and we all ended up dumping the rest of the carrot juices over our chicken dish. No waste! And lots of yum.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

kabocha-yuzu soup

All gone!
 You can't argue with an empty bowl. Or multiple empty bowls. 

(And do you like our 100-yen store tissue box cover? If you live in Japan, it's almost a requirement. Now that I've acquired one this time around, I feel as if my homemaking is complete.)

You could Westernize this by substituting regular pumpkin and lemon, lime, or orange juice (or a combo) instead of yuzu and leaving out the daikon. I wouldn't replace it with any other kind of radish. Click the link below for the full recipe. I served this with homemade hamburgers (no buns) with chopped green onion, garlic, almond flour, soy sauce, pepper, and cooking sake, cooked and topped with a red miso sauce and grated daikon radish.

You'll need: 
  • 1 whole kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), chopped and deseeded, but not peeled
  • 2 leeks, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2-inch piece of daikon radish, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 3 sage leaves
  • about 1 t. rosemary leaves
  • 5 c. water
  • about 1 t. bouillon paste (or a couple of stock cubes if you have them)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk of your choice (we use soy in Japan because we can't get almond)
  • 1 yuzu (Japanese citrus), juiced 
Do this:

Saute the veggies in olive oil in a big stockpot for a few minutes (no need to soften completely), then add the water, herbs, salt and pepper, and bouillon paste. Simmer till everything is tender, then blend with an immersion blender or a regular one. Add in enough milk to make it creamier (I used about a cup or so), and make sure it's warmed through. For some final je ne sais quois, stir in the yuzu juice and taste for seasonings.

The creaminess of the kabocha, the hit of garlic, and the very Japanese citrus flavor of the yuzu work great together.

Itadakimasu!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

gluten-free microwave berry crumble

Haven't got an oven? Hey, we're in the same boat! I'm not actually a fan of the microwave, but you do what you have to do to have a warm, berryfull dessert on a cool fall day (this crumble followed a really yummy veggie, ham, and sausage soup, to be posted soon).

I made these in four individual mugs, but ramekins or a bigger glass pan would be fine, too, if you wanted to make one dish to ladle from.

You'll need:
  • frozen blueberries and raspberries, about 1/2 cup per person
  • lemon juice and brown sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried coconut 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 large pieces of crystallized ginger, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you have salted butter or nuts)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
  • honey for drizzling (if your crumble topping ends up being a bit too salty like mine was) 
Do this:

Plop your frozen berries in the container(s) and sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar (mix in). In a separate mixing bowl, stir the almond flour, coconut, nuts, crystallized ginger, spices, brown sugar, and salt (if using) together.

Stir the melted butter into the dry mix and mash together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. This will make about 1/2 cup of topping for each mug or bowl. Spoon the crumble over each container and drizzle with a little honey if desired.

My microwave is 700 watts, about half the power of a normal American unit, so please check your manual and adjust the cooking time as needed. Each of these cups (and don't forget to cover with a paper towel or similar) took about 90 seconds. If you have an American microwave, I would try for half that time and see how it goes.

The topping ended up happily nutty and crunchy, and our tummies didn't complain either. Tart berries and a granola-like topping! I've already been asked to make this again, and I won't say no.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

yuzu green beans

A lovely neighbor of ours shared the organic yuzu (Japanese citrus) and tougarashi (a kind of red chilli pepper) love. Aren't they gorgeous?

As a last-minute veggie side dish this evening, I grabbed some humble frozen green beans, sauteed them in olive oil, sprinkled on some chunky sea salt and pepper, and then finely grated some yuzu peel over all. It was as out of this world as the fireball meteor that flew over Japan yesterday!

We might not ever see a meteor like that in real life, but I'm definitely making this dish again.

Monday, October 27, 2014

imo rice

Japanese (and Munday) autumnal comfort food: freshly harvested rice (shinmai) from a friend's field cooked with just-pulled sweet potatoes.

Monday, October 6, 2014

what's for dinner

photo credit: Stephen Munday

What's cookin' in Mamatouille's kitchen? 
  • steamed carrots with sea salt
  • shinmai (newly harvested rice from our friends' fields) cooked in the rice cooker with chopped sweet potatoes (from another friend's garden): to turn it into the round shape you see above, just wet a bowl with water, pack the rice in, then turn it upside down (I got the idea of the sweet potatoes with rice from a restaurant lunch date we had the other day). I sprinkled a bit of sea salt on top.
  • sushi-grade tuna that I bought on sale and cooked in the frying pan with olive oil--topped with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley (the topping was sauteed myoga (related to ginger, but a totally different taste) and chopped green onion)
  • sauteed sliced eringi mushrooms and green beans (olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

curried kabocha-sweet-potato salad

Picnicking? We were, with some lovely Japanese friends and some college students too. It was a gorgeous day, perfect autumn weather, and I was trying to decide what to take to share.

Here's something I kitchen-conjured.

You'll need:
  • 1 large cooked and peeled sweet potato, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cooked, de-seeded, and chopped medium-sized kabocha (Japanese pumpkin; no need to peel)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, rehydrated with boiled water
  • 1/4 cup Japanese mayo (or whatever you've got) 
  • 3 T. plain yogurt
  • 1 T. milk (I used soy)
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 3/4 t. curry powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. garam masala
  • 1/4 t. powdered ginger
Do this:

Mix it all together and chill. That's it.

Then eat (preferably outdoors with chopsticks and grilled meats and veggies).

Verdict? I took two bowls of it and it went like lightning. I managed to sneak in a few bites and absolutely loved it. Sweet and creamy from the potatoes and kabocha, a bit sour from the cranberries, and perfect fall spiciness from the curry and garam masala.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

veg-full sloppy joes


Sweet potatoes in Japan are purple on the outside, pale yellow on the inside, and great for topping with sloppy joe mix!

Here's a Mamatouille original. (Feeds six easily.)

You'll need:
  • sweet potatoes, cooked (I don't have an oven so I use my microwave)
  • salt and pepper to taste, for the sweet potatoes
  • butter, for the sweet potatoes
  • 700 g ground beef
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • 3/4 t. Japanese ground spicy mustard
  • 1 1/2 t. sugar
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf, torn in half
  • olive oil
  • a puree (done in the food processor) of 1/4 sweet pepper (yellow, red, green, or orange), 2 celery sticks, 1/8 purple cabbage, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 - 1 onion, 1 carrot
Do this:

Saute the veggie puree in olive oil till almost soft, add the ground beef and stir and cook till no longer pink. Add the rest of the ingredients, plus a bit of water if needed to make it saucy.

Serve over sweet potatoes that have been doctored with butter, salt, and pepper, and enjoy with the familytouille.

no-bake chocolate truffle cake and the green-smoothie antidote

If you want to be chocolate-happy, but you don't have an oven, what do you do? Ask a friend (thanks, Sarah!) for ideas, and make the first recipe that's suggested to you: no-bake chocolate truffle cake.


And if you want a green smoothie later, all you do is grab a blender and toss in: 2 bananas, some pineapple, a carrot, fresh ginger, spinach, 1/2 avocado, water, and okara. I love that pineapple-ginger flavor.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

cut your green-onion time in half

Cut your green-onion cutting time in half while cutting your green onions.

Why didn't I think of this before? Just fold them in half!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

curried deviled eggs

Piping! You've got to try it! I'm not sure I'd ever done it before for deviled eggs, but it was a heck-of-a-lot-of fun. And when the eggs are a yummy recipe from a special Seattle-neighbor-friend, it's even better. (She adapted it from a Food Network recipe.)

You'll need:
  • 12 large eggs, boiled and cold
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (taste and then add more if needed)
Do this:

I boil my eggs with a boiled egg timer till hard (and put plenty of salt and vinegar in the water to help them peel easier), then add ice cubes to the water when finished. I then peel under running water, and they usually come out nicely. (I also use a trick from an American fiction author, Debbie Macomber: when you start to peel the eggs, first tap the widest end where there's a bubble underneath the shell, and it makes it easier.)

Put the peeled eggs in the fridge a few hours or overnight.

After the little babies are chilled, cut them in half lengthwise and mash the yolks with the rest of the ingredients listed. Did I mention piping is a hoot? I also sprinkled a bit of dried parsley on the ones above for a July 4th/friend's birthday party celebration.

Enjoy the curry kick!

anything-goes hamburger fried rice + gingery green smoothie

It's lunchtime! What are you gonna make? Gather all your leftovers from the fridge, cook some rice, grab a frying pan, and you've got yourself a mean fried rice.

Plus a green smoothie: one apple, two bananas, grated ginger, 1/2 lemon, a bit of veggie-fruit juice, okara (soy pulp leftover after making tofu, or you could just use tofu), 1/2 avocado, 1/2 zucchini, spinach, and a bit of water.

For the fried rice, you'll need (or actually, you'll need whatever is leftover in your house):
  • cooked rice
  • chopped ham
  • sliced pork, chopped small
  • leftover hamburger, chopped tiny
  • leftover chopped cooked carrot and broccoli
  • a puree of okara (soy pulp) or regular hard or soft tofu, onion, garlic, and celery (I do this in the food processor)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • sesame oil
  • tomatoes for garnish
Do this:

Heat some sesame oil in a frying pan, add the rice, ham, pork, hamburger, cooked veggies, and the okara puree. Stir and cook till a little bit crispy, then add your eggs and salt and pepper. Fry until the eggs are cooked, then serve with tomatoes and a gingery green smoothie. Eat it in a bowl with a spoon like Japanese folks would do.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

no-cooking-required tropical fruit and ginger compote


I was in a hurry for an easy-to-assemble dessert to end a shrimp curry meal, and quickly wrote "frozen mango" and "ice cream" on my grocery list. Well, something steered me down the baking aisle at Aeon, my local Japanese grocery store, and the baking aisle just happens to have canned fruit on it as well.

A can of pineapple and papaya jumped into my cart, and the rest is yummy-tummy history.

You'll need:
  • one 425 g/15 oz. can of pineapple and papaya (or other tropical fruit) in light syrup
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • one blender
Do this:

Pop the top of the can (I'm not sure why I even brought a can opener with us to Japan--all the lids are poppable with that little convenient ring), dump the contents (including the syrup) into the blender with the lemon juice and ginger. I have a Blendtec, so I just used the sauce setting.

Makes 1 1/2 cups compote.

I can't decide whether I liked this better over chocolate or vanilla ice cream, so I'm going to have to do some more taste tests to really nail it down. 

UPDATE: I've made this again and added 4 t. fresh lemon juice and 1 t. ginger. Much better. Zingier.

Monday, April 21, 2014

dairy-free sugar-free easter cranberry rice pudding


This post (and the kitchen-dabbling that brought it forth) is a welcome relief from planning, packing, and organizing (yet another) international move. This time we're bound for Kanazawa, Japan, on the Japan Sea western side of the country. (Hello, friendly North Korea!)

I loosely based the pud on this recipe from Whole Foods. Feel free to make it your own as well!

(By the way, happy Jesus-Resurrection Sunday!)

You'll need:
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups unsweetened almond milk 
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • a few shakes of nutmeg
  • 7 drops stevia
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries 
  • a few dabs of Bonne Maman four fruits preserves, or jam of choice
Do this:

Over medium-high heat, stir the rice, milk, salt, and cinnamon sticks till bubbling. Turn down to simmer (my rice took about 13 minutes), and halfway through the cooking time, add the nutmeg, stevia, vanilla, and cranberries.

When it's nice and softened and the milk has cooked down quite a bit, take it off the heat, serve in your favorite Denby teacups, and top with some jam.

Enjoy with your favorite peeps, and be prepared for those peeps to ask for several more helpings.